According to Billboard and Variety, music icon Beyonce, 40, released “Renaissance,” her seventh solo studio album, at midnight Friday. The 16-track collection – available via major streaming services, retailers and on the singer’s official website – is Act 1 of a “three-act project … recorded over three years during the pandemic,” the 28-time Grammy Award winner wrote.
“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” read a post on Beyonce’s website. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”
She went on to address her fans, writing, “I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong and sexy as you are.”
Early Friday, lyric videos for the new tracks also premiered on the singer’s official YouTube page.
The release came days after the “Renaissance” tracks leaked online, according to Variety.
“So, the album leaked, and you all actually waited until the proper release time so you all can enjoy it together,” Beyonce wrote in posts on her website and social media late Thursday. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t thank y’all enough for your love and protection. I appreciate you for calling out anyone that was trying to sneak into the club early. It means the world to me. Thank you for your unwavering support. Thank you for being patient. We are going to take our time and enjoy the music. I will continue to give my all and do my best to bring you joy. I love you deep.”
Last month, the pop superstar dropped the album’s first single, “Break My Soul.”
“You won’t break my soul,” she repeats in the chorus of the disco-inspired song, adding, “I’m telling everybody.”
Beyonce released her last solo studio album, “Lemonade,” in 2016, The Independent reported. She and husband Jay-Z also released the collaborative album “Everything Is Love” in 2018, according to the news outlet.
Here are some memorable photos of Beyonce through the years.
1998: Destiny’s Child performs at halftime of the New York Giants vs. New York Jets game on August 20, 1998, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
1999: Destiny’s Child, LeToya Luckett, LaTavia Robertson, Kelly Rowland and Beyonce Knowles, at the 13th annual Soul Train Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1999.
2000: Destiny’s Child at the 2000 Source Hip-Hop Music Awards.
2001: Destiny’s Child attends the 2001 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino on October 26, 2001, in Las Vegas.
2002: Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child pose backstage during the 44th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center February 27, 2002, in Los Angeles.
2003: Singer Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards at Ocean Terminal on November 6, 2003, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
2004: Singer/actress Beyonce Knowles poses backstage after winning five Grammy Awards in the press room at the 46th annual Grammy Awards held on February 8, 2004, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
2005: Singer Beyonce Knowles arrives at the 77th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on February 27, 2005, in Hollywood, California.
2006: Rapper Jay-Z and singer Beyonce Knowles perform onstage at the 2006 BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on June 27, 2006, in Los Angeles.
2007: Singer Beyonce Knowles arrives at the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton on January 15, 2007, in Beverly Hills, California.
2008: Singer Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during the 2008 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on November 23, 2008, in Los Angeles.
2009: Singer Beyonce Knowles arrives at the 81st annual Academy Awards held at Kodak Theatre on February 22, 2009, in Los Angeles.
2010: Singers Beyonce Knowles (left) and Rihanna backstage during the 52nd annual Grammy Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010, in Los Angeles.
2011: Singer Beyonce arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011, in Los Angeles.
2012: Beyonce Knowles attends the "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012, in New York City.
2013: Singer Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013, in New Orleans.
2014: Jay-Z and Beyonce attend the "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014, in New York City.
2015: Beyonce and Jay Z attend the "China: Through the Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015, in New York City.
2016: Beyonce, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Bruno Mars perform onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.
2017: Singer Beyonce during the 59th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2017, in Los Angeles.
2018: Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018, in Indio, California.
2019: Beyonce Knowles-Carter attends the European Premiere of Disney’s "The Lion King" at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 14, 2019, in London.
2020: Jay-Z and Beyoncé attend the Pre-Grammy Gala and Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean "Diddy" Combs on January 25, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California.
2021: Beyoncé accepts the Best Rap Performance award for "Savage" onstage during the 63rd annual Grammy Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021, in Los Angeles.
2022: In this handout photo provided by AMPAS, Beyoncé performs during the ABC telecast of the 94th Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, in Los Angeles.